Shriners Chicago Hospital Story
Bringing meaning to the statement: 'No request for help is foreign to the Society'
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago received an email from a former Vincentian and an employee at Shriners Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He was seeking help with food, lodging, and transportation for a mother and her child who would be traveling from Mexico to Chicago Shriners Hospital for medical treatments. The hospital was able to provide airfare and medical treatments only. The family is very poor and did not have the means to secure the other accommodations on their own. Because they did not speak any English, and the very tight itinerary with everything needing to take place within 17 hours, we would need very special help.
This is not the typical work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. We are not equipped to handle this type of request. As always, we found our strength in our reliance on the Holy Spirit. We needed him to intervene and find a suitable host. We had tried various religious communities and churches near the airport and near the hospital. We tried to set up hotels, shuttles, cabs, and food gift cards. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, a parishioner family of one of our Vincentians came to mind. They spoke fluent Spanish and English. Having medical backgrounds, they were able to translate important information to the family as well as making sure everything stayed on schedule.
What made this help extraordinary was the work of the Holy Spirit choosing this perfect host family to pair with these perfect strangers. During the 17 hour visit, the little girl and her mom made new friends in Chicago. They had hosts with insight to make this more of a healing pilgrimage. They took the scenic route home instead of the fastest route from Midway to the northwest side of the city; stopping near the Adler Planetarium to take a photo against the beautiful Chicago night time skyline. They ate Chicago style pizza before heading to comfortable beds in a private home where people spoke their language and knew their culture. Breakfast was served early and the doctor appointments were kept on time with thoughtful notations taken and passed along to ensure accurate communication. A bite to eat on the way back to the airport and they were gone as quickly as they had arrived. Loving care and consideration were given to strangers as though they were Christ himself visiting for the night.
How often does Christ enter our lives for a brief few hours and we don't even realize that He was there? How blessed to experience Him in such a pure and simple loving way. Don't miss your opportunity to visit with Christ.
Together...we make a difference!